MHC considers adding diagnostic CT scanner

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) is taking an exploratory first step in determining the feasibility of bringing a computed tomography (CT) scanner to Manitoulin Island.

At the MHC board meeting on January 24, 2019, President Lynn Foster noted in her report that the professional staff had placed a formal request through the medical advisory committee to investigate if there might be a business case for providing CT services on Manitoulin Island.

“Management has been directed by physicians through the medical advisory committee to put together a business case, to see if it could be feasible for Manitoulin. Tim (Vine, CFO of MHC) and I are hoping to work and have something for the March meeting,” Ms. Foster said.

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In Mr. Vine’s report, he stated other hospitals have already begun to explore CT scanning and that they will be a valuable resource.

“With the new regional CFO group as a resource and some other small hospitals in the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) already being on the road to a CT scanner, advantage is being taken of opportunities to leverage knowledge and experience,” he wrote.

Ms. Foster stressed that this concept is in its early stages and there is a chance it may turn out to be a poor fit for Manitoulin.

“We will have to have a discussion with the board regarding their priorities,” she said. “We have to ask, ‘should we focus our funding on a CT scanner or on an expansion/renovation of the Mindemoya emergency department?’”

CT scanners are important in the medical field because they show a three-dimensional view of a person’s body and especially the brain, making them able to gather more detailed information than a standard x-ray. In stroke victims especially, CT scans can be used to determine whether a stroke is caused by internal bleeding or a blood clot. If caused by a clot, doctors can administer so-called clot-busting drugs to save stroke victims. However, this medication must be given within 4.5 hours in order to be effective. Having CT services closer than Sudbury would greatly increase a stroke victim’s chance of survival.

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